Admit weekend can be somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster.
It is exciting coasting down Palm Drive and taking that classic picture in front of Memorial Church with all of your new Stanford gear. Even receiving a Stanford name tag at the check-in point seems special and somehow makes your being an incoming Tree finally feel real. Then there’s the indescribable adrenaline coursing through you as you’re herded around, with a gaggle of other ProFros, to the various activities. People handing you flyers for clubs, the band parading around, confused parents looking for their children—it almost feels like a carnival.
But then you can start to feel the downsides of that overwhelming energy. The same small talk and introductions start to get annoying; you’re surrounded by so many interesting peers, but the small number you actually connect with is slightly discouraging. Nevertheless, you follow the suggested schedule, until you feel the need to slip away from the group to explore the beautiful campus on your own for moments at a time. The next thing you know, you’re in front of the famous gong with a mallet in hand, current students cheering you on, unofficially committing to Stanford—and you’re proud of your decision.
Though nearly everyone experiences it, this emotional rollercoaster might push you to question whether Stanford is the right fit for you. Of course, it isn’t the best place for everyone, but one cannot make an accurate decision without getting to know the university on their own. As helpful as the scheduled activities and lectures can be, sometimes you need a break from all of the chaos to think a bit. Here is a list of some spots that I think are worth scoping out for some Admit Weekend down-time:
Since we are at a rigorous university, you may be curious about possible study spots. Of course there are the classic spots like campus cafes or plush lawns you’ve seen in movies, but Stanford students tend to opt for libraries when it isn’t spring and sunny. We all know of Green Library as the main library, but people often forget about two other absolutely gorgeous libraries: Bowes Art Library and the Crown Law Library terrace. Bowes is made of mostly glass walls allowing natural sunlight to illuminate the rest of the futuristic architecture of the building. And the easily accessible terrace that overlooks Cantor Art Museum has extremely comfortable, brightly colored, playful seating options. As for the law library, the decor is more traditionally elegant. Green vines creep up the walls and the awning lets in the perfect amount of light while still providing shade, not to mention the calming sound of the fountain. Though you won’t need a study spot for this weekend, if you feel like you need a break from the energy, either library can offer you the temporary sanctuary you need.
If the dining hall isn’t cutting it or if you need a pick-me-up between tours, I don’t see a problem with starting the habit of going to Coupa Cafe or CoHo a little early. Both centrally located on campus, these eateries are frequented by students often either for lunch or on the way to morning class. Coupa, a newer establishment situated next to Green Library, is a quick, convenient place to grab a drink or a tasty pastry; the lawn in front of it (Meyer Green) is a nice place to enjoy your food. On the other hand, CoHo (or Coffee House) is located near Tresidder and has more meal options with indoor seating. The aged wooden tables and chairs make the environment feel comfortable and homey. Tresidder is also home to a slew of other eateries as well as an additional Stanford student shop, if the lines at the bookstore get too long. These are also great, easy-to-find places for your parents to get some rest.
Lastly, if you’re looking for aesthetic places to take pictures in front of or outdoor places to just enjoy scenery, there are so many options. The most popular are: Memorial Chapel, Hoover Tower, The Oval and The Stanford Dish, as well as the open space between the bookstore and Old Union. However, since these are Stanford’s touristy spots, they can get pretty crowded during Admit Weekend. Since Stanford is known for fountains and public art sculptures, I think it is worth it to check out the Reflecting Pool in the Engineering Quad and the Rodin Sculpture Garden just behind Cantor Art Museum. They may be slightly out of the way, but it means that fewer people know about them, which is partly why the view and serenity of these locations are pretty priceless.
Again, these are a few places to escape to when you feel that the Admit Weekend chaos is getting too much. I’ll be the first to admit that as much as you want the weekend to be the incredibly perfect experience you’ve dreamed of Stanford being, it’s sometimes hard to keep up your energy when you’re constantly bombarded with new information and surrounded by strangers. Don’t be afraid to leave the group of other ProFros to explore and reflect on your own—that could be the best way for you to get to know the school better. Visit the places you are actually interested in, whether that’s the Chemistry building or the Arrillaga Gym rock climbing wall, even if they aren’t stops in the schedule, because at the end of the day, the weekend is all about you and learning what you need to know before choosing where to spend your next four years.
Contact Serena Soh at sjsoh ‘at’ stanford.edu.